Leadership Series: Accountability

There’s a trend forming… we are now expecting others to take accountability for our emotions. 

Why would you do this? Owning your emotions, your emotions responses, is what makes you strong, evolved, successful. When you put this onus on others you weaken your ability to have emotional intelligence.

Where are we doing this? Everywhere…

When you’re offended, how do you respond? Do you expect someone to change their behavior in order for you not to be offended? Being offended is an emotional reaction.

Did you check their intent?

Did you check yours?

Expecting others to change their behaviors to suit your emotions is a slippery slope. It also means you will need to change your behaviors to suit their emotions.

Being around someone you think is a jerk can be difficult, but you have other choices than being offended. Unless this person is factually trying to offend you personally, don’t be offended.

Why? What does being offended do for you? How does it help you? If you think it “helps you see their colors”, etc, then you’re allowing offense to be a driving emotion versus allowing your moral and value-based filters to choose your company.

Let me explain: I’m around someone who seems to find some value or moral I hold dear funny. She jokes about it.

  • Is this often, like a common action which tells me her values or morals don’t align with mine? I won’t be offended. I’ll reflect and see that we aren’t similar enough to be close friends and I will distance myself from her.
  • Is it a one-off statement? I’ll let it slide because I know her intent is good (I’ll always assume a positive intent).
  • Is she saying it purposefully to hurt or harm me? I won’t be angry or offended, as these are her actions. I will, however, see that her intent is negative and I will dissolve this relationship immediately.

Another example: I’m at an office and a co-worker or boss says “you look hot today, you’re really rocking that hair!”

  • I’d take the awkward compliment and go about my day, assuming their intent is positive and they’re just being kind.
  • Do they follow it up with asking me out, or touching me? I’d say “Hey, thanks for the compliment, but I’m not interested in a relationship outside of work and I ask for you to not touch me”, with s smile. Why smile? Because I continue to assume they have a positive intent. Just because someone finds you attractive and wants to evolve a relationship doesn’t make them an ass. It makes them human.
  • They continue asking me out and touching me, even after I’ve declined the original advances. Some people have bad intentions… you’ve got to be able to distinguish between them and those that don’t. Direct threats make it obvious where they stand, but other than a direct threat it can be hard to gauge. Always look to the intent and manage your own emotional response. Regardless of their intent, you’re accountable for your emotions.

We’ve seen the collective of society become more entitled, offense driven, and demanding that others are accountable without a mutual response from themselves. This does not evolve your emotional intelligence, emotion resilience, emotional maturity, or your communication skills. It will flatline them… or worse, it will erode them.

Just because you “work hard” doesn’t mean you should have what everyone else has. Life isn’t fair, because “fair” is subjective. You own your success. If you find yourself complaining about something, ask yourself how you can make it work for you. How can you find housing that suits your needs and your budget without relying on someone else, or society, to change? How can you ensure you are paid as close to equal as others that do a similar job as yours? Tip… emotional intelligence and strong communication skills solve for both of these… and no, arguing or being aggressive is not a “strong communication” skill.

Most people have had obstacles to overcome in their lives. They were born to poor families, parents weren’t educated, they grew up in unhealthy environments, etc. Yet they have conquered their predispositions and have succeeded in their goals. It takes strength and courage to look fear in the eye and say “screw you, I’m not afraid.” When you push through your fears you’re able to challenge your emotional reactions and build emotional intelligence. When you’re able to reflect on those fears and respond with purpose and focus, you build strong communication skills.

Being accountable for your own emotional responses creates a path to emotional resilience, emotional intelligence, and strong communication. It’s not the only step, but it’s a big one.

Start today… ask yourself what emotional triggers might be holding you back from being as emotional intelligent as possible? Where can you be more accountable for your emotional responses? Ask yourself what’s the best way to communicate this that solves for both positive intent and a growth for a solution (versus a bandage.) The law is a bandage… a change and growth in society is a solution.

Be the solution. Be accountable. Be your best.


Have questions? Feel free to contact me. And, if you’re interested in working with me, check out my coaching program.

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